Thursday, July 2, 2009

Henslow's Sparrow

After reading all the reports MASSBIRD I too traveled to the Montague area to see the Henslow's Sparrow. He was perched on a green stalk in the back of a tall grass meadow singing. The stalk also seemed to be a favorite perch for three male bobolinks. When they appeared he would drop down in the grass; and at one point he reappeared about 75 feet to the left on a similar group of green grass. When the bobolinks moved on he moved back to his original spot. While I was there much to my chagrin he stayed in the back of the field and was pretty much out of reach of my camera. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can barely make him out on the bent bright green stalk in the center back.

Another birder with a scope was kind enough to let me take a look. What a beautiful little bird! I was amazed at the brightness and clarity of the image. I'd been holding off on getting a scope but this made me change my mind, although this particular one, a Swarovski, would out of my price range right now. I did manage to get an 11 sec recording of the song, not great quality but good enough, I think, to give an impression. The spectrogram helps in visualizing the song.

Mark Fairbrother posted the first report on June 27. It seems a miracle that he discovered him, particularly since the song is not very loud. There have been very few recorded observations and, although historically a breeder in Massachusetts, he is now listed as an endangered species in the state. Unfortunately the chances of him finding a mate are incalculably small.